Rush Limbaugh

Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (born January 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri) is an American radio talk show host. He is a conservative, discussing politics and current events on his show, The Rush Limbaugh Show. He has been credited by some with reviving AM radio, and is considered by many to have been a catalyst for the Republican Party's 1994 Congressional victories.

The Rush Limbaugh Show has been largely credited for the large shift in AM broadcasting to a news-talk format after an audience decline in the 1970s. His show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, and as of 2005 (according to Arbitron ratings surveys) its audience was estimated at 13.5 million listeners per week, making it the largest radio talk show audience in the United States. Such high ratings have been a consistent hallmark of his show.

Limbaugh was the 1992, 1995, 2000, and 2005 recipient of the Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year, given by the National Association of Broadcasters, joining the syndicated Bob & Tom Show as the only other four-time winner of a Marconi award. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2002, industry publication Talkers magazine ranked him as the greatest radio talk show host of all time. Limbaugh attracts the highest percentage (56%) of hard news consumers relative to all other television and radio programs in the United States.

Limbaugh began his career in radio as a teenager in 1967 in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri using the name Rusty Sharpe.

He attended Southeast Missouri State University for one year where he dropped out after failing two speech courses. This would have normally made him eligible for the draft, but he was classified 1-Y due to an undisclosed medical problem. Limbaugh stated that he was not drafted because a physical found that he had an "inoperable pilonidal cyst" and "a football knee from high school."

Limbaugh was first married on September 24, 1977 to Roxy Maxine McNeely, a sales secretary at radio station WHB in Kansas City. They were married at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau. In March 1980, Roxy McNeely filed for divorce, citing "incompatibility". They were formally divorced on July 10, 1980.

In 1983, Limbaugh married Michelle Sixta, a college student and usherette at the Kansas City Royals Stadium Club. She left him in December 1988 on Christmas weekend and their divorce was finalized in 1990. She remarried the following year.

On May 27, 1994, Limbaugh married Marta Fitzgerald, a 35-year-old aerobics instructor, whom he met via the Compuserve online service. They were married at the house of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who officiated. On June 11, 2004, Limbaugh announced that he was separating from Fitzgerald. On air, he stated, "Marta has consented to my request for a divorce, and we have mutually agreed to seek an amicable separation. As I said, it's a personal matter and I want to keep it that way. I don't intend to say any more about this on the air." An article in the Palm Beach Post claimed that this third divorce was a result of his addiction to prescription pain medication.

After dropping out of Southeast Missouri State University Limbaugh moved to Pittsburgh and became a Top 40 music radio disc jockey on station WIXZ.

In October 1972, he moved to KQV, another Pittsburgh station, using the name Jeff Christie. Limbaugh developed some of his trademark patter there, such as a claim to use a "golden microphone" (which eventually became literally true in the 1990s on The Rush Limbaugh Show). After being fired from KQV, Limbaugh moved to Kansas City, where he also worked (and was subsequently fired from) KUDL, KFIX, and KMBZ. After several years in music radio, Limbaugh took a break from radio and accepted a position as director of promotions with the Kansas City Royals baseball team.

In 1984, Limbaugh returned to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in Sacramento, California (where he replaced Morton Downey, Jr., a mentor). In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission repealed the Fairness Doctrine, thus freeing radio stations to air opinion journalism without having to provide air time to opposing points of view.

After achieving success in Sacramento and drawing the attention of Edward F. McLaughlin, a former president of ABC Radio, Limbaugh moved to New York City in 1988, entering the nation's largest radio market on talk-format station WABC-AM, which remains his flagship station to this day. He did a two-hour local program on WABC. For a while on WABC he was preceded by comedian Joy Behar and followed by Lynn Samuels, creating a six-hour block of politically focused radio, with both Behar and Samuels leaning to the left politically.

Beginning on August 1, 1988 Limbaugh was syndicated nationally as a two-hour show and eventually expanded to three hours while dropping the local New York show, though his show was still based at WABC. (Limbaugh refers on-air to the "Excellence In Broadcasting Network", or "E-I-B"; however, this is merely an on-air signature, as there is no organization with that name.) While WABC remains Limbaugh's key outlet, he now broadcasts from either the Premiere Radio Network studios in New York or his private studio in Florida near his home.

Newsday media critic Paul Colford reported on Limbaugh in 1988:

Rush Limbaugh's act includes plenty of pokes at himself and lots of tongue-in-cheek pomposity such as: "I'm Rush Limbaugh, your guiding light in times of trouble and despair." His politics skew sharply to the right of the "liberal Democrats" and Gov. Michael Dukakis, known in Limbaugh parlance as "The Loser."

The president of EFM Media is a former head of the ABC Radio Network, Edward F. McLaughlin. He believes that Limbaugh, a partner under contract to EFM, will become the most-listened-to radio personality in America - bigger than Larry King - by virtue of his midwestern manner and informed views. Bigger than Larry King? We'll see. For now, McLaughlin's goal is to have 200 stations signed to Limbaugh's show by 1990.

In 1990, even after Lewis Grossberger acknowledged that Limbaugh had "more listeners than any other talk show host", Grossberger described Limbaugh's style as "bouncing between earnest lecturer and political vaudvillian".

The program rapidly grew in popularity and moved to stations with larger audiences. The highwater point was his introduction of 'America Held Hostage,' following the election of Clinton in 1992. Ronald Reagan sent a letter calling Rush the voice of conservatism in that era. When the GOP won control of Congress in 1994, one of the first acts by many freshmen, who had called themselves the "Dittohead Caucus", was to award Limbaugh the title of "honorary member of Congress," in recognition of his support to their efforts during this period.

Limbaugh's first television appearance came with a 1990 guest host stint on Pat Sajak's late-night program on CBS. After a confrontation with ACT UP gay activists in the studio audience, protesting what they perceived as anti-gay hate speech, repeatedly shouting at Limbaugh, cutting off other members of the studio audience, and generally attempting to disrupt the program the entire audience was removed so that Limbaugh could finish the show. In 1993, Limbaugh appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, and the audience almost immediately became hostile and booed him, especially when Limbaugh compared Hillary Clinton's face to "a Pontiac hood ornament."

Limbaugh also guest-starred on an episode of Hearts Afire as himself, as well as on an episode of The Drew Carey Show. He has also been parodied numerous times including, an episode of The Simpsons in the form of a conservative talk radio host named Birch Barlow, Saturday Night Live's TV Funhouse, as "Gus Baker" on an episode of Beavis & Butthead, and as "Lash Rambo", host of "Perfection in Broadcasting", on an episode of The New WKRP in Cincinnati.

Limbaugh had a syndicated half-hour show from 1992 through 1996, produced by Roger Ailes. The television show discussed many of the same topics as his radio show, and was taped in front of a live audience. Reportedly, Limbaugh ended the show due to disappointment that it was aired too late in the evening in many markets (in many places it was aired at 1:30 AM or even later) and because of the immense amount of time required to prepare for the show.

On November 6, 1992, three days after the presidential election, Limbaugh made a reference to the daughter of the incoming President Bill Clinton, Chelsea. Limbaugh stated: "Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat; Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?" a picture of Chelsea then appeared onscreen. Although Limbaugh has claimed it was a technical error, as Al Franken documented in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, since the show was on a tape delay, if it truly was a technical error, it could have been corrected prior to airing of the show. Of course, as Rush pointed out, the tv show was a big drain on his time (and that was why he gave it up) and didn't do retakes. Limbaugh apologized during that show, claiming fatigue. A few days later, he stated that "I don't need to get laughs by commenting on people's looks, especially a young child who's done nothing wrong. I mean, [Chelsea] can't control the way she looks."

On a later broadcast, Limbaugh played a video clip of then-President Bill Clinton laughing and joking on his way into a memorial service for Commerce Secretary Ron Brown with Tony Campolo and then looking mournful when he spotted news cameras in the area. Limbaugh claimed that Clinton's sudden mood change resulted from the spying news cameras, and was evidence of both the President's insincerity and the tendency of the national media to overlook it.

In 1992, Limbaugh published his first book, The Way Things Ought To Be, followed by See, I Told You So in 1993. Both went to number one on the New York Times Best Seller list. Limbaugh acknowledges in the text of the first book that he taped the book and it was transcribed and edited by Wall Street Journal writer John Fund. In the second book, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily is named as his collaborator.

As a result of his television program, Limbaugh became known for wearing distinctive neckties. In response to viewer interest, Limbaugh launched a series of ties designed primarily by his then-wife Marta. Sales of the ties reached over US$5 million in their initial sales year, but were later discontinued.

The first book about Limbaugh appears to be the 1993 Rush Limbaugh and the Bible by Daniel J. Evearitt. One reviewer said "Dr. Evearitt is very uncomfortable sharing the label 'conservative' with Limbaugh" and notes that it contains chapters like "No Wife, No Kids — Is This Man an Expert on Family Values?"

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a liberal media watchdog group, released a report on March 8, 1992, listing forty-three errors Limbaugh allegedly made during various shows. Limbaugh responded to about half of the original claims; FAIR then rebutted his rebuttal, followed by another rebuttal to the rebuttal. Critics such as L. Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, have argued that FAIR is liberal and partisan.

In 1995, FAIR published an entire book, The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error: Over 100 Outrageously False and Foolish Statements from America's Most Powerful Radio and TV Commentator, alleging errors by Limbaugh. His defenders claim that because Limbaugh talks unscripted for fifteen broadcast hours a week (less commercials) the number of alleged factual errors is, under the circumstances, very small. Defenders also claim that very few of Limbaugh's actual alleged facts were wrong, and that most of his claimed factual errors were in fact a case of disagreement with his opinions.

By August 2001, Limbaugh's listeners had noted changes in his voice and diction, changes that Limbaugh emphatically denied on the air. However, on October 8, 2001, Limbaugh admitted that the changes in his voice were due to complete deafness in his left ear and substantial hearing loss in his right ear. He also revealed that his radio staff was aiding him in continuing to accept calls on his show, despite his rapidly progressing hearing loss, by setting up a system where he could appear to hear his callers. The system worked remarkably well, but did not convince all listeners, some of whom noted a long delay between a caller ending his point and Limbaugh responding, and occasionally speaking over a caller. Occasionally Limbaugh had to ask callers to hold on momentarily, while the caller's comments would be transcribed and shown on Rush's computer monitor.

In December 2001, Limbaugh underwent cochlear implant surgery, which restored a measure of hearing in his left ear, and his voice and enunciation improved. According to Limbaugh's doctors, Limbaugh's deafness was caused by an autoimmune disease. However, Limbaugh's detractors were quick to point out that chronic use of opioids, such as OxyContin and particularly hydrocodone, both which Limbaugh later admitted abusing, can compromise the function of the immune system and cause deafness. Limbaugh has stated that this was not a factor in his case.

On July 14, 2003, ESPN announced that Limbaugh would be joining ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown show as a weekly commentator when it premiered on September 7. Limbaugh would provide the "voice of the fan" and was supposed to spark debate on the show.

On September 28, Limbaugh commented about Donovan McNabb, the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles:

"Sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

McNabb was the highest paid NFL player in history at the time, and defenders of Limbaugh's comments point out that McNabb had the worst start of his career in the 2003 season and was the NFL's lowest-rated starting quarterback. McNabb's defenders say that to his credit, McNabb was a runner-up for the year 2000 league Most Valuable Player, a member of three Pro Bowl teams, and led his team to two straight NFC championship games. McNabb had suffered a broken leg during the 2002 season, and had been slow to recover.

The Reverend Al Sharpton, a Democratic Party candidate for President and political activist, encouraged Limbaugh's firing from ESPN, threatening a boycott of all Disney companies, including ABC, Disneyland, and Walt Disney World. Democrats Howard Dean and Wesley Clark joined in the criticism, as did the NAACP. Limbaugh responded by saying that he must have been right; otherwise, the comments would not have sparked such outrage.

On October 1, 2003, Limbaugh resigned from ESPN with the statement:

"My comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated. I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret. I love NFL Sunday Countdown and do not want to be a distraction to the great work done by all who work on it. Therefore, I have decided to resign. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the show and wish all the best to those who make it happen."

After Limbaugh's resignation, Sunday NFL Countdown African American co-host Tom Jackson said on the air: "Let me just say that it was not our decision to have Rush Limbaugh on this show. I've seen replay after replay of Limbaugh's comments with my face attached as well as that of my colleagues, comments which made us very uncomfortable at the time, although the depth and the insensitive nature of which weren't fully felt until it seemed too late to reply. He was brought here to talk football, and he broke that trust. Rush told us the social commentary for which he is so well known would not cross over to our show, and instead, he would represent the viewpoint of the intelligent, passionate fan. Rush Limbaugh was not a fit for NFL Countdown."

In early October 2003 and in the same week as the McNabb controversy, the National Enquirer reported that Limbaugh was being investigated for illegally buying prescription drugs. Other news outlets quickly confirmed the beginnings of an investigation.

Limbaugh has been a vocal critic of drug users as well as an avid supporter of the War on Drugs.

On October 10, 2003, Limbaugh admitted to listeners on his radio show that he had abused prescription painkillers and stated that he would enter inpatient treatment for 30 days, immediately following the broadcast. He did not specifically mention which pain medications he had been abusing. Speaking about his behavior, Limbaugh went on to say:

"I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years, athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes."

"They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem. At the present time the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete."

Following Limbaugh's admission of drug abuse, his detractors reviewed prior statements by him about drug use as examples of hypocrisy. Several statements were found, in particular, on October 5, 1995:

"There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

"What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use, too many whites are getting away with drug sales, too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."

and on August 8, 2003:

"These tough sentencing laws were instituted for a reason. The American people, including liberals, demanded them. Don't you remember the crack cocaine epidemic? Crack babies and out-of-control murder rates? Liberal judges giving the bad guys slaps on the wrist? Finally we got tough, and the crime rate has been falling ever since, so what's wrong?"

and on March 12, 1998:

"What is missing in the drug fight is legalization. If we want to go after drugs with the same fervor and intensity with which we go after cigarettes, let's legalize drugs. Legalize the manufacture of drugs. License the Cali cartel. Make them taxpayers, and then sue them. Sue them left and right, and then get control of the price, and generate tax revenue from it. Raise the price sky high, and fund all sorts of other wonderful social programs."

This last quote, however, contradicts several previous statements in which Limbaugh condemned legalization. For example, on his TV show on December 9, 1993:

"I'm appalled at people who simply want to look at all this abhorrent behavior and say, "Hey, you know, we can't control it anymore. People are going to do drugs anyway. Let's legalize it." It's a dumb idea. It's a rotten idea, and those who are for it are purely, 100 percent selfish."

An article in the January 12, 2004 issue of Human Events (The National Conservative Weekly) presented its reaction to the media attention of Limbaugh's addiction, calling it a 'Network War' against Limbaugh. It charged network anchors with engaging in exaggerated and inflammatory rhetoric by implying Limbaugh was involved in "drug sales" or "drug gangs." Human Events Online reported in January 2004 a timeline of events in this matter from September through December 2003.

An investigation into "doctor shopping" concluded in the state of Florida under the Palm Beach State Attorney in April 2006. Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black alleged that the chief county prosecutor investigating Limbaugh, an elected Democrat, was politically motivated. The ACLU, an organization often lambasted by Limbaugh, came to his defense, claiming that the district attorney violated Limbaugh's constitutional rights by "fishing" through his private medical records. Assistant State Attorney James L. Martz, on November 9, 2005, stated "I have no idea if Mr. Limbaugh has completed the elements of any offense yet." Then on December 12, 2005, Judge David F. Crow decided to prohibit the State from questioning Limbaugh's physicians about "the medical condition of the patient and any information disclosed to the healthcare practitioner by the patient in the course of the care and treatment of the patient."

Limbaugh has said his addiction to painkillers came as a result of long-term back pain he had been suffering for several years, and a botched surgery that came as a result of that. Limbaugh opposed the prosecutor's efforts to interview his doctors on the basis of patient privacy rights, and has argued that the prosecutor has in fact violated his Fourth Amendment civil rights by illegally seizing his medical records. The Florida courts consistently upheld Limbaugh's right to confidentiality.

On April 28, 2006, Limbaugh turned himself in to the Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff's Office as part of a prearranged settlement to the case. He filed a "not guilty" plea with the Court and posted a $3,000 bond to a single criminal charge of doctor shopping to "obtained 2,000 pills over six months". The sheriff's office later announced that Limbaugh was technically "under arrest" during the booking process. Believing that this term would misleadingly invoke an image of the talk show host being handcuffed and hauled away, Limbaugh and his attorney contacted various media outlets to inform them of the settlement.

Black issued a statement indicating that Limbaugh had settled the charge with the state and that the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the criminal charge if Limbaugh pays $30,000 to defray the cost of the investigation and completes an 18-month therapy regimen with his physician. Black stated:

"...The State Attorney's Office and Mr. Limbaugh have reached an agreement whereby a single count charge of doctor shopping filed today by the State Attorney will be dismissed in 18 months. As a primary condition of the dismissal, Mr. Limbaugh must continue to seek treatment from the doctor he has seen for the past two and one half years. This is the same doctor under whose care Mr. Limbaugh has remained free of his addiction without relapse. Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping, and we continue to hold this position. Accordingly, we filed today with the Court a plea of 'Not Guilty' to the charge filed by the State."

Limbaugh asserts that the state's settlement agreement resulted from a lack of evidence supporting the charge of "doctor shopping." Under the terms of the agreement, Limbaugh may not own a firearm and must continue to submit to random drug testing, which he acknowledges having undergone since 2003.

On June 26, 2006, Limbaugh was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Palm Beach International Airport in possession of Viagra which had been prescibed to him but labeled with the name of the issuing physician, Limbaugh's psychiatrist. He was returning to the United States from the Dominican Republic. The same day, the Palm Beach County sheriff's office announced it would investigate to determine if any laws were broken. On July 5, 2006, Palm Beach County officials stated that Limbaugh will not face charges in relation to this incident. Limbaugh joked about acquiring what he was led to believe as "blue M&Ms" from the Clinton Presidential library. Limbaugh also quipped on his radio show that he told his doctor that he was worried about the election, and must have been misheard.

Limbaugh made the following comments in an op-ed piece in 2005:

I love being a conservative. We conservatives are proud of our philosophy. Unlike our liberal friends, who are constantly looking for new words to conceal their true beliefs and are in a perpetual state of reinvention, we conservatives are unapologetic about our ideals.

* We are confident in our principles and energetic about openly advancing them. We believe in individual liberty, limited government, capitalism, the rule of law, faith, a color-blind society and national security.

* We support school choice, enterprise zones, tax cuts, welfare reform, faith-based initiatives, political speech, homeowner rights and the war on terrorism.

* And at our core we embrace and celebrate the most magnificent governing document ever ratified by any nation — the U.S. Constitution. Along with the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes our God-given natural right to be free, it is the foundation on which our government is built and has enabled us to flourish as a people.

* We conservatives are never stronger than when we are advancing our principles.

Limbaugh holds an annual telethon, called the "EIB Cure-a-Thon" for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In 2006, the EIB Cure-a-Thon conducted its 15th annual telethon.

In 2003, Limbaugh broadcast the following hypothetical on abortion choices made by parents based upon trait selection and the anticipated reaction by advocates of gay rights:

Imagine we identify the gene—assuming that there is one, this is hypothetical—that will tell us prior to birth that a baby is going to be gay.... How many parents, if they knew before the kid was gonna be born, that he was gonna be gay, they would take the pregnancy to term? Well, you don't know but let's say half of them said, "Oh, no, I don't wanna do that to a kid." Then the gay community finds out about this. The gay community would do the fastest 180 and become pro-life faster than anybody you've ever seen. They'd be so against abortion if it was discovered that you could abort what you knew were gonna be gay babies.

Limbaugh opposed teaching grade school students about homosexuality in 1993 and wrote of gay rights as being special rights. He has made similar statements about transsexuals.

Also, Limbaugh once said of Strom Thurmond, who used the phrase "not normal" to describe a gay soldier during his presidential campaign in 1948, "He's not encumbered by being politically correct.... If you want to know what America used to be—and a lot of people wish it still were—then you listen to Strom Thurmond."

Critics decry what they assert is the lack of a balance between liberal and conservative viewpoints on talk radio. Limbaugh's response is to claim that most news reporting is liberally biased; a common saying of his is "I am equal time." To combat the claim of his show being "unreasonably biased," Limbaugh has adopted a policy of automatically bumping liberals to the front of the call queue, in order to ensure that they get a chance to voice their opinions. Not all liberal callers make it past Limbaugh's call screener and his tendency is naturally to challenge the views of those who do. Limbaugh does not claim to be a neutral reporter. He also has explained himself on occasion as being a commentator and entertainer, not a reporter.

With the passing from the scene of the network news anchors of the 1990s, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings, Limbaugh has begun to call himself "America's Real Anchorman."

Limbaugh's satire, especially that of his early years, has been criticized by his detractors with some even calling it "hate speech". News about the homeless is often preceded with the Clarence "Frogman" Henry song "Ain't Got No Home". For a time, the song "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again" preceded reports about people with AIDS. For two weeks in 1989, Limbaugh performed "caller abortions" where he would end a call suddenly to the sounds of a vacuum cleaner and a woman's scream, after which he would deny there was ever a caller, explaining that the call had been "aborted."

In reference to Ted Kennedy, he often cites the alcohol use that led to the death of Kennedy's campaign worker/girlfriend, Mary Jo Kopechne, at Chappaquiddick by calling Kennedy "the swimmer" and referring to him as the Senator from Chappaquiddick. Limbaugh refers to Robert Byrd, as "Sheets Byrd" in reference to Byrd's onetime membership in the Ku Klux Klan. This moniker ("Sheets") was originally coined by Tip O'Neill, per Chris Matthews, a former O'Neill staffer.

Limbaugh is highly critical of environmentalism and has disputed human-caused global warming and the relationship between CFCs and depletion of the ozone layer.

He is a vocal supporter of capital punishment, having once said that "the only thing cruel about the death penalty is last minute stays."

Limbaugh is very vocal in denouncing liberal politicians (in the more modern "leftist" sense rather than classical liberal sense) and initiatives, and actively promotes conservative candidates and policies. He has occasionally taken issue, from a right-wing perspective, with the George W. Bush administration in 2005 and 2006, criticizing the choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court and the President's immigration reform package. Other Republicans whom he criticised in this period included John McCain on immigration reform and House Speaker Dennis Hastert for his reaction to an FBI raid of a Capitol Hill office.

One statement that drew criticism was made on his May 4, 2004 show where he gave his perspective on the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse committed by members of the U.S. military:

This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we're going to ruin people's lives over it, and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people. You ever heard of emotional release?

I don't understand what we're so worried about. These are the people that are trying to kill us. What do we care what is the most humiliating thing in the world for them? There's also this business of them all wearing hoods and how that’s also very humiliating. You can see more guys wearing hoods at a Sen. Robert Byrd birthday party 40 years ago than we've seen in these prisoner photos.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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